Memphis Depay opened the scoring and in-form Karl Toko Ekambi found the net twice as Lyon moved back into the top three with a 3-1 win at Metz on Sunday.
Lyon had won their previous seven league games against the Lorraine outfit, and knew that an eighth would extend their unbeaten run this season to ten Ligue 1 Uber Eats matches and keep them on the coattails of Lille, who had beaten Monaco earlier in the day.
Farid Boulaya could have made life difficult for the visitors had he tucked away a seventh-minute penalty — awarded for Marcelo’s bodycheck on Opa Nguette — but his spot-kick was badly struck and badly placed and Anthony Lopes made an easy save.
Lyon didn’t take long to capitalise: a good ball into the inside right channel found Toko Ekambi, and he cut it back for Depay to fire crisply into the far bottom corner for his sixth league goal of the season and his fifth in as many games against Metz (17′).
Depay clipped a delightful ball over the top that Houssem Aouar, back in the side after missing last weekend’s 3-0 win over Reims for disciplinary reasons, should have done better than waft over the bar (21′).
Depay returned the favour, so to speak, by wasting Aouar’s pass that teed him up for a shooting opportunity that he could only fire tamely at Alexandre Oukidja (38′).
Two minutes into the second half, Toko Ekambi struck his first, capping a flowing move right-to-left across the pitch that started with a Depay backheel, included a Tino Kadewere pass, and was embellished by an outrageous outside of the boot flick from Aouar that gave the Cameroon international the chance to fire home his sixth league goal of the campaign (47′).
On the hour mark, Toko Ekambi had a second and Lyon a third (60′), and Rudi Garcia, who was watching from the Stade Saint Symphorien stands while serving a one-match touchline ban, would have been sitting comfortably despite the chill evening in eastern France.
But then his side let their guard down. Habib Maïga — formerly of OL’s great rivals Saint-Etienne — fired in a shot that stretched Lopes (73′) before Boulaya drilled in Metz’s first goal against Lyon in eight encounters (75′).
Substitute Kiki Kouyaté had a header tipped over with some difficulty by Lopes (77′) as Frédéric Antonetti’s men pressed. Toko Ekambi bent a shot off the crossbar with Oukidja beaten (80′) as the match ended with red cards, one for each side.
Metz captain John Boye (87′) was dismissed for clashing with Marcelo at a set-piece while substitute Rayan Cherki (90+2′) was sent off after injuring Oukidja when shooting wastefully wide as Lyon moved onto the Ligue 1 Uber Eats podium, behind second-placed Lille on goal difference and just two points adrift of leaders Paris Saint-Germain, their opponents at the Parc des Princes next Sunday.
THE PLAYER: Karl Toko Ekambi
Deserved a hat-trick for his performance, and came within a couple of centimetres of getting one. Seven goals and four assists in 11 league appearances this season is a fabulous return for the man signed on a permanent basis this summer following last season’s successful loan cameo from Villarreal.
THE STAT: 24
Lyon have now scored 24 times in their last eight league games against Metz, all of them wins.